2014 Could Be Costly Fire Season - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

2014 Could Be Costly Fire Season

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BILLINGS -

This year's fire season could last longer and cost more.

That's according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agency also says it could be millions of dollars short of what they need to fight fires.

"So in the last 16 years, there's been a lot of movement to appropriately manage fires across the country instead of just running in and trying to put it out," says Rodney Redinger, a fire training specialist from Kansas State University.

The report estimates it will cost $1.8 billion to put out wildfires in 2014.

That's about $470 million more than the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have available to fight wildfires.

Over the last 30 years, fire seasons have increased by 2 to 3 months.

A forest service fire training specialist says fires are harder to put out.

"Every fire it seems that we go on anymore, there's houses threatened and that makes it hard, really, really hard."

Last year nationally, 34 wildland firefighters died in the line of duty including one from Montana and more than 1,000 homes were destroyed.

If the fire season is as expensive as expected, the two departments will have to take funds from other programs.

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